readingtrance

book reviews by Althea

The Manchurian Candidate – Richard Condon ***

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One of those books that I felt I ought to read just because I’ve always heard of it, and knew nothing about it. I haven’t ever even seen the movie, so I came into the book expecting nothing.
I have to say, the first half of the book, to me, was kinda boring, slow, and painfully dated. I didn’t expect to start liking it.
But – the second half picked up, as the plot, and its unravelling, came to fruition. So it gets an extra star that I didn’t really expect to give.
I think I’d recommend it to John le Carre fans – it had a similar feel, and well, it’s a spy novel (kinda sorta).

I still can’t be wholly enthusiastic about the book though… the main premise (the brainwashing) strained my suspension of disbelief, and the way things play out is really just a little xenophobic and misogynistic. On top of this, the main character is so odd and disturbed that a reader really can’t relate to him as a person at all, let alone empathize with his plight.

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